Expect a sequel to Philadelphia QB story
It just makes sense that Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb stay in Eagles' nest in 2011
Despite the fact that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is in the final year of his contract, Philadelphia will not let him leave -- no way.Anybody who has any doubts about whether Philadelphia would slap its franchise tag on Vick need only look at the projected franchise quarterback number. League sources now peg that number for the 2011 season at $15.42 million, which positions Philadelphia perfectly. This season, the Eagles are spending $16.6 million on the quarterback position -- $5.2 million on Vick and $11.4 million on Kevin Kolb.
4. For as putrid as the NFC West has been, the AFC South has to be football's biggest surprise. Nobody would have thought that, on the final weekend of November, the AFC South team in first place would be the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is the same gritty Jaguars with the NFL's 20th-rated offense and 27th-rated defense. Slightly less surprising are some of the struggles of the usually reliable and successful Indianapolis Colts. In each of the past seven seasons, the Colts have won at least 12 regular-season games. But to match that mark this season, the 6-4 Colts will have to go unbeaten in their final six games against San Diego, Dallas, at Tennessee, Jacksonville, at Oakland and Tennessee. It's doable, but not probable.5. As much as Chargers general manager A.J. Smith would dislike admitting it, San Diego needs wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Desperately. Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd aggravated his hamstring injury Monday night in the rout of the Denver Broncos. Wide receiver Legedu Naanee has had a tough time bouncing back from his hamstring injury, wide receiver Patrick Crayton dislocated his wrist against the Broncos, tight end Antonio Gates has torn plantar fascia and turf toe, and tight end Randy McMichael also has a bad hamstring. Jackson's timing of being activated Tuesday to play Sunday night at Indianapolis is ideal -- even if his contract is not. After the Chargers lowered his tender from $3.268 million to $682,000 last June, Jackson will be paid $280,823 this season to help San Diego make another one of its patented late regular-season runs. For the price, Jackson now might be the best bargain in all of football. 6. Whoever had Tennessee sixth-round pick Rusty Smith from Florida Atlantic making his first NFL start before Denver first-round pick Tim Tebow is a mastermind. The one person not overly surprised is Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger, who once helped recruit Joe Namath to Alabama for Bear Bryant. More than two years ago, Schnellenberger predicted that Smith would be a first-round pick. Schnellenberger's prediction was six rounds too high, but Smith still became the first Florida Atlantic player drafted after he threw for 10,112 yards and 76 touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Smith can wing it. And he gets his chance in the most friendly of circumstances in Week 12, playing against the Houston Texans and their 32nd-ranked pass defense. It will be up to Smith to keep the starting job warm until Kerry Collins can return from his calf injury. Of course, Browns rookie McCoy was supposed to do something similar in Cleveland -- and then he exceeded expectations. 7. Nearly five years later, the quarterback class of 2006 doesn't exactly resemble the quarterback class of 1983. Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, the third player picked that year, now is on injured reserve. Houston's Matt Leinart, the 10th player drafted, is the Texans' third-string quarterback after the Arizona Cardinals released him this summer. Chicago's Jay Cutler, whom the Broncos selected 11th overall, has been the best of the bunch, but he has struggled some. There were 11 quarterbacks drafted in 2006. The other eight, in order, were: Kellen Clemens, Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Brodie Croyle, Ingle Martin, Omar Jacobs, Bruce Gradkowski and D.J. Shockley. Not exactly Elway-, Kelly-, Eason- and Marino-like.
9. When Minnesota lost last January's NFC Championship Game in overtime, Brad Childress lost his coaching leeway. Had Vikings quarterback Brett Favre not thrown two costly interceptions and running back Adrian Peterson not fumbled twice, Minnesota would have beaten New Orleans and supplanted the Saints in the Super Bowl in a game it quite possibly would have won. Had the Vikings won the Super Bowl, Minnesota would have had a difficult time firing Childress this season, no matter how disastrous it had been. But even if Minnesota had fired him, Childress would have had a Super Bowl win on his resume, elevating him into the speculative conversation about where Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Brian Billick could land head-coaching jobs. But alas, the Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game and Childress lost his job. Green Bay happily will take its share of credit, too. It demolished Dallas and watched the Cowboys fire Wade Phillips the next day. It manhandled Minnesota and watched the Vikings fire Childress the next day. So heads up to Mike Singletary, whose San Francisco team plays the Packers on Dec. 5.
10. On Monday, Nov. 29, stay tuned for some big NFL news sometime between noon and 3 ET. On each of the past five Mondays, some sort of bombshell has landed between those hours. On Oct. 25, an MRI revealed that Favre had two fractures in his ankle. On Nov. 1, Childress told the Vikings players he was waiving Randy Moss. On Nov. 8, the Cowboys fired Phillips. On Nov. 15, Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb signed his five-year contract extension. And on Nov. 22, the Vikings fired Childress and the Titans told quarterback Vince Young not to bother coming to the team meeting. Monday, Monday.
The Schef's specialties
• Upset of the week: Jacksonville over N.Y. Giants: Just the type of power-rushing team that the Giants have struggled with in recent seasons.
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider.
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